Field Journal: Late Summer Dragons at Magnuson

A month ago I attended a dragonfly class at Magnuson Park with dragonfly expert, Dennis Paulson. He talked about the dragonfly’s life cycle during the class portion, then we went out to Magnuson Park in Seattle to look at the odes. The season had already begun to fade as many he had seen just a week ago were no longer flying. We did see many blue-eyed darners, cardinal meadowhawks, eight-spotted skimmers, blue dashers and western pondhawks. A single black saddlebag patrolled the pond. There were a few tule bluet and California spreadwing damselflies as well. I spotted one unfortunate…

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Field Journal: Denny Creek

This summer was the third in a row we have gone camping at Denny Creek, located in North Bend, Washington, near Snoqualmie Pass. The first year it was sunny and warm and I saw dragonflies, butterflies and all manner of moths. Last year, it was decidedly less sunny. We arrived during a light rain, and the next day it rained so hard that we drove east of the Cascades to dry out. The final day was finally dry and peaceful but still cool and there were few insects out. 

This year promised to be sunny with only warm…

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Field Journal: Alki Octopus

The very low tides I enjoyed at Scenic Beach State Park over the weekend continued and I didn’t want to miss out. So on the Monday after returning from Hood Canal, I took my daughter to Alki Beach in Seattle to explore. I had already had some great finds at Alki during the low tides at the end of May and it seems I always find something interesting there. The Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalists were already searching and I was bitterly disappointed to hear from them that a Humpback Whale and swam by not more…

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Field Journal: Scenic Beach State Park

Early this year I researched the lowest daytime tides of the spring and summer and made plans around those dates. One of those plans was a visit to Scenic Beach State Park, along Hood Canal in Washington, where we’d camped last year during my 365 Nature Project. I had seen some great intertidal life along the beach like tiny sunflower stars and kelp crabs and hoped to find more during the upcoming low tides.

We arrived just before low tide on a Friday morning in late June and immediately went down to the beach. I spent…

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Spring Nesting

This spring our wildlife garden has seen a lot of activity. Last year, during my 365 Nature Project, we watched a Bewick’s Wren pair make a nest in our backyard nest box, while a pair of American Robins built a nest in our front yard. This year the wrens returned, but opted for a different nest box. In our backyard I have put up a red box, which the wrens chose last year. I also have a blue box hanging from the garage which has never been used. Then there’s the wood box built by my…

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Field Journal: Late Spring Insects at Magnuson Park

With the warm and sunny weather coming to a temporary end, I wanted to make the most of it to find some insects before the cool weather arrived. The day started sunny and although I arrived at the park in the morning, there was plenty moving around. The rose plants were full of small bumble bees and a few damselflies cruised around the edges of the ponds. I surveyed the grassy hillside where I often see dragonflies resting in the morning before they warm up enough to fly. While looking for dragonflies, I noticed a bright red insect sitting…

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